Communicating Effectively with EMS Providers

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For the past several decades, OEMs have used outside EMS providers to build a multitude of products from PCBAs to complete box and cable assemblies. Communicating effectively is the key to success in getting products from concept to reality. For companies that want to form a good working relationship with EMS providers, there are several steps that should be followed to ensure a successful product build. This is especially true if you are working with suppliers in different parts of the world. This article will focus on effective communication methods between the OEM and EMS provider and discuss some very simple ways to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with outsourced services.

Statement of Work (SOW)
The SOW is a very common document in the military and aerospace side of the electronics manufacturing world. The SOW spells out exactly what the customer expects from the supplier. Details will include specifications to adhere to, ITAR restrictions, flow-downs, revision levels, quality notes, deliverables, reporting requirements, FAI requirements, and any other special instructions not found in any other documentation. On the commercial side of the fence, SOWs are generally non-existent and it’s up to the EMS provider to piecemeal all the instructions together from a multitude of email notes and instructions. Inevitably, something will get missed and/or will not be communicated to the shop floor. Basically, the SOW defines the rules of engagement.

Apart from a detailed SOW, a complete input package is the most important part of the quote and build process and should include as much information as possible. This will allow the EMS provider to produce an accurate quote and identify any possible areas of concern.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the August 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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